How To Create a Draft Order and Use the Draft Orders API

How To Create a Draft Order and Use the Draft Orders API

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“Sure, we can make that happen.” The ability to be flexible when taking orders is absolutely essential for a growing business. You can have an online store set up for every possibility you think of - but then someone wants to order over the phone instead of online. Or, you want to offer them a discount when they purchase in high volumes. Or, you want to send them a freebie as a special thank you gift, but also want to keep track of your inventory in the same way.

Why would you need to create a draft order?

Setting up an order manually means you can do any of the following:

  • Keep using other forms of sales like conversational commerce, sales made by phone or in person, or through any other alternative channel. 
  • Accept cash payments 
  • Choose whether to manually take credit card info (in person, on the phone etc) or to send someone an invoice with a secure checkout link
  • Add custom costs or products that aren’t in your public inventory
  • Sell your products at different rates, to accommodate special discounts or wholesale rates (P.S. if you do this a lot, consider using the Shopify Plus Wholesale Channel)
  • Redo mistaken orders or address customer service issues - such as adding a freebie, taking out part of a cart etc. 
  • Take pre-orders for items that aren’t up on your store yet
  • Create custom shipping or tax rates per order

When you set up an order manually, you can process it then and there, send an invoice and wait for payment, or save it as a draft.

Being able to save an order as a draft is especially helpful for businesses who are forming ongoing discussions with a client or aren’t quite ready to accept payment yet. Say you are approached by someone who wants a custom order or wholesale arrangement that may take some coordination. During your first conversation you can set up an order with as many details as you have, then continue working through your fulfilment process and update the order as you go. When you’re ready, you can send the invoice over.

Drafts are also useful for teams that may need another pair of eyes on an order before it goes out. If you’re training a new employee, for example, and want to make sure they are getting custom orders right, you can have them prepare a draft and then take a look at it before sending it off.

So how do I create a draft order?

You can create a new order by going to your Shopify Admin, clicking Orders then Create Order.

From there, you can add products, customer info, shipping info etc. Once it’s saved as a draft, you can get back to it from the Drafts page of the Shopify Admin. Once payment goes through, it is moved to the Orders page and you fulfill it as usual.

1. Add products and custom costs

After you’ve hit “Create Order” go to the Order Details section. You can search your inventory or click “add custom product”. Use the tickboxes to select multiple products.

2. Apply discounts

The items you select will have their price next to them, which you can click. The dialog box that opens will give you the chance to add percentage-based or flat rate discounts to individual items.

Alternatively, you can go to the bottom of the order in the “totals” section. You’ll see a line where you can add a discount for the whole order.

3. Add Shipping and Taxes

In the same section, you’ll find a place to add shipping and taxes. Shipping and taxes are calculated based on the customer’s address - if that’s not on file you’ll need to select the correct shipping and taxes rates, or choose the defaults.

4. Add A Customer

The “Find or Create A Customer” section is where you add customer details, including shipping and contact information. You’ll need their email address to send them an invoice link.

5. Send it off!

Once you’ve applied customer info to an order, placed the items and checked that the amounts for the products, shipping and taxes are correct, you can email an invoice. Simply hit “Email Invoice” at the bottom of the page, and add a custom message if you would like. The customer will receive the invoice, which includes a link for them to pay with their credit card.

6. Accept payment

From your Orders page, you can mark the type of payment that applies. If someone has paid you with cash, a cheque or a bank transfer, you can mark the order as paid. You can also mark it as pending if you are awaiting payment from your emailed invoice. Otherwise, you can hit “Pay with Credit Card” if you have their info already -- for example if you’re taking an order over the phone.

What is the draft orders API?

The Draft Orders API is a developer tool that can be used to create manual orders in new places. It allows merchants who are building custom stores, apps or other functions to include all draft order functionality.

Without the API, draft orders are saved in your Shopify Reports under “other sales channel”. By connecting particular sales channels (like an app) with the Draft Orders API, your orders will be organised by the channel they came in from like usual.

Want to learn more?

Check out this video Shopify has made about using draft orders


If you’re a developer, you can download the Draft Order API here, or check out the discussion forum.

Get started with the Draft Orders API

Elkfox is a Shopify Expert, meaning we’re pros at helping ecommerce businesses grow using tools like the Draft Orders API. If you’re interested in getting started, contact us today.

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